Scotland Bill: Governments agree to final fiscal rules deal deadline


The Scottish and UK governments have agreed that a final deal on the fiscal rules accompanying the Scotland Bill should be in place by February, Nicola Sturgeon said following a meeting at Downing Street.

The First Minister said it was important to conclude a deal in time for the Bill to pass into law before the Scottish elections in May, but she would not sign up to a deal that was "unfair" to Scotland.

New tax powers for Scotland, as recommended by the Smith Commission in the wake of the independence referendum, are laid out in the Scotland Bill which is now being debated at Westminster.

Both governments must first agree the financial framework that will underpin the new powers - the subject of discussions between the Prime Minister and Nicola Sturgeon at Number 10 today.

The Trade Union Bill and UK security were also discussed.

The First Minister said: "Getting this agreement right is vital to ensure that Scotland isn't worse off by hundreds of millions of pounds a year simply as a result of the transfer of powers that have been promised.

"We were both able to agree that the financial deal that goes alongside the extra powers transferring to Scotland must be fair for everyone involved and that both governments want to secure a deal by February to allow the Scotland Bill to move forward."

Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop said following the meeting: "Everything the UK Government is doing on both the fiscal framework and the wider Scotland Bill is based on the Smith principles.

"These govern our approach and that will not change. We need a deal which is fair to Scotland, fair to the UK and will stand the test of time."